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Where to book a resort with eco-credentials

As the world turns its attention to Glasgow and the COP26 United Nations Climate Change Conference, Asia Family Traveller takes a look at how three regional hotels and resorts are doing their bit to save the planet. By Carolynne Dear.

Green dreams

Park Royal Collection Marina Bay, Singapore's first 'Garden-in-a-Hotel'.

Singapore’s Park Royal Collection Marina Bay has been transformed into the city’s first ‘Garden-in-a-Hotel’, following a S$45 million overhaul.

The property is now the country’s most ecologically focused hotel, designed to champion sustainability and responsible living.

The hotel is home to more than 2,400 plants, trees, shrubs and ground cover from more than 60 varieties of fauna. It also boasts Southeast Asia’s largest indoor skylit Atrium at 21-storeys, a suspended floral sculpture, a skybridge over the hotel’s forest canopy and a 13m green wall in the lobby.

A sustainable build meant preserving the original structure to save more than 51,000 tonnes of construction-related carbon dioxide production - the equivalent of cutting down 8.7 million trees.

The hotel also has an Urban Farm on its roof with tens of varieties of fruit, vegetables, herbs and edible flowers, which are used in the hotels bars, restaurants and spa.

The Green Space, a multi-functional outdoor area overlooking Marina Bay, is beloved by yogis, and offers guests the chance to relax in a 25m mineral swimming pool that glows with 1,380 fibre optic lights at night.

Food for thought

Distributing Nasi Bungkus to the local Balinese community.

The Potato Head hospitality group in Bali has converted plots of hotel and restaurant land in the west of the island into two farms.

Alarmed by how quickly the pandemic was switching off the holiday island’s main source of income, namely tourism, Desa Potato Head’s co-founder, Ronald Akili, galvanised the Potato Head team to provide the local community with nutritious, locally-grown food.

One year later and the farms have harvested around 1,800kg of food and provided more than 12,500 meals which is distributed amongst the local community, including the most vulnerable, and Potato Head staff and their families.

The remainder is turned into Nasi Bungkus, a plant-based rice dish wrapped in banana leaves. The food is distributed by bio-bus, a brightly coloured eco-friendly vehicle painted by Bali-based artist Rostarr which runs on repurposed cooking oil. And because the food is wrapped in banana leaves, there is zero waste.

The Sweet Potato Project has also influenced two more Potato Head initiatives. Sweet Potato Kids aims to educate children staying at Desa Potato Head about the importance of sustainability with fun activities such as bamboo kite making and flying and a coconut planting class.

And Sweet Potato lab is a research and design studio that is dedicated to finding solutions to waste. The lab is located on-site at Desa Potato Head and surplus materials from the daily operation of the property are repurposed.

It’s hoped that the Sweet Potato Project will continue to feed the community, as well as Desa Potato Head’s restaurants, for many years to come.

Wasting away

Six Senses Laamu is cutting all plastic waste.

Six Senses Laamu in the Maldives has won a global award at this week’s World Travel Market Responsible Tourism Awards in London for its efforts towards the reduction in use of plastics and the reengineering of its supply chain to eliminate plastic.

The resort is aiming to become plastic-free in 2022, including all front-of-house plastics and behind-the-scenes packaging. One of the biggest challenges is the styrofoam boxes that local fishermen use to store their catch before it’s delivered to the resort. Staff worked with packaging suppliers and fishermen to have food delivered in cardboard boxes lined with compostable and biodegradable panels of hemp, jute and wood fibre. In all, this eliminates more than 8,000 styrofoam boxes a year.

Plastic water bottles have also been eliminated; instead filtered salt water is desalinated and cleaned using ultraviolet purification and poured into glass bottles. Fifty per cent of water sales in the resort restaurants go to funding the provision of clean drinking water for local communities. In all, Six Senses Laamu has installed 97 filters locally to eliminate 6.8 million plastic water bottles every year.

In the spirit of using locally produced food, Laamu’s Leaf Garden sprouts 40 varieties of herbs and green and Kukulhu Village provides eggs and chickens for hotel restaurants. Harvesting supplies on-island reduces plastic packaging.

On booking, guests are sent eco packing tips and asked to leave single-use plastic products at home. The resort’s boutique sells a plastic-free toolkit with reusable water bottle, reusable bag, bamboo toothbrush and wooden pencils.

And in all, more than 200 beach and reef cleans have been carried out with data submitted to Project AWARE.


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